Last week saw the front page of Wednesday’s paper highlight the concerns raised by the local authorities with regard to “as is” properties flying under the radar. Liz McDonald at The Press reports:
New rules could force owners to reveal details about damage to homes for sale or rent, as concern grows about unrepaired and uninsurable houses.
The Government has confirmed it is looking at ways to address problems emerging with the as-is-where-is housing market in Christchurch.
Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee acknowledged at the forum that as-is sales were “a problem that is certainly emerging, and one we need to put a great deal of thought into and have solutions for”.
Labour earthquake recovery spokeswoman and Port Hills MP Ruth Dyson said the issue was a problem for the whole city, as well as those directly affected.
“There’s a moral argument here. Money is paid out for repairs, it should be used for repairs. Having all these uninsured homes is a societal risk.”
Dyson said central or local government could require details of damage and insurance go on council LIM (land information memorandum) reports until repairs were done, or be listed on sale and purchase agreements.
The bottom line of their concerns is the potential safety risk unsuspecting purchasers and tenants could be exposed to should full disclosure not be made and the appropriate remediation not completed. They are calling for some form of records to be kept and for a Warrant of Fitness system for dwellings to possibly be instigated. While the immediate reaction is for alarm bells to ring, I actually welcome this approach, as this encourages best practice in the industry when dealing with this specialised market.
This also fully endorses my staunch stand with regard to insisting on comprehensive engineer’s reports. Firstly it addresses the question of safety and secondly it forms the absolute baseline of representation with regard to the dwelling’s structural status and integrity. Engineers are the suitably qualified professionals to comment on such matters, not salespeople representing the property on face value.
From experience the buying public welcome transparency and this credible information, indicating that they can make well informed decisions based on good information.
I say bring it on, by raising the bar the “as is” market will only gain more credibility. So get armed with the facts and go forth and buy!